The winner was chosen by the Scotland management team of Head Coach Steve McCormack, assistant Dave Rotheram and manager George Fairbairn. Young debutants Alex Hirst and Josh Barlow were commended by the panel and emergency prop Sam Barlow was a close runner-up to Duffy in the voting.
“John Duffy‘s performance in this year’s competition was outstanding,” said McCormack. “He led a very young and inexperienced Scotland team to a fantastic win against Ireland and a highly competitive game against a France team full of Super League stars. His personal performance was as good as any player in the competition and his preparation, enthusiasm and professionalism was appreciated by everyone connected with the 2011 Scotland tam.”
Duffy, now aged 31, remains Scotland’s youngest ever full cap when he was picked to play against France in 1997, aged just 17 and seven days. Due to the presence of Danny Brough at scrum-half and the now retired Brendon Lindsay at stand-off, Duffy had played just five of the previous 16 games under Steve McCormack’s reign before last season. He returned to the scrum-half role and excelled alongside stand-off Lee Paterson, winning the press vote for man of the match against Ireland. His last start at scrum-half was in the World Cup dead rubber against Tonga three years ago, having played the previous two games at stand-off. In 2009, he came off the bench as replacement pivot and missed the 2010 campaign completely.
Duffy, who made his Warrington debut aged just 16, is the eighth different winner in the eight years the award has run. The award is named after Scotland’s greatest ever rugby league player, Dave Valentine, who captained Great Britain to World Cup glory in 1954 and was a leader for Huddersfield throughout that decade. Last year’s winner was current Huddersfield starlet Dale Ferguson, former NRL forward Duncan MacGillivray and ex Scotland rugby union internationalist Jon Steel.
David Rose Award – Scotland ‘A’ Team: Callum Cockburn (Edinburgh Eagles)
Roy Kinnear Award – Scotland Students: Jordan Rice (Hull University)
Graeme Thompson Award – Scotland Under-18s: David Scott (Hull KR)
Nathan Graham Award – Scotland Under-16s: Daniel Godfrey (Moray Titans)
Dave Valentine Award – Scotland Senior Team Player of the Year
2011 John Duffy